MISFORTUNE FOR CHINESE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AT CONCORDIA
Victims of Recruitment Practices Ask International Education Bureau for Help
Victims of the Concordia China Student Recruitment Partner Program addressed the media on Wednesday November 7th at 12:00pm in front of the Sheraton Hotel to ask the Canadian Bureau for International Education to investigate Concordia’s record with international students.
Following up the investigative report in Concordia’s student newspaper about the university’s questionable international student recruitment practices, additional victims will come forth to draw attention to the alarming number of international students misinformed or charged non-refundable fees for inappropriate homestays, fast-track applications, language classes and airport reception, among other services.
Lydia and Gloria, two JMSB international undergraduate students from China who prefer not to give their full names, will speak about their personal experiences to the media. Lydia wanted to apply for Concordia student residences, yet Concordia China Student Recruitment Partner Program Director Peter Low misinformed her by email: “You have to be in Montreal before you can apply for the dorm. You cannot apply from overseas even if you pay for it. It is not like booking a hotel room.”
“I’m fighting to make sure that not one more international student is mistreated”, says Lydia. “is way of treatment of international students makes me feel betrayed by Concordia.”
Concordia Geography graduate student Xiao will also come forward to share her story about $800 unnecessary airport and website fees.
Yen, the President of the Concordia Chinese Student Association, will read a confidential letter on the behalf of a Chinese international student who left her homestay after the host accused her of stealing “kitchen utensils like forks, knives and glass cups” and asked her to either pay for it or leave. After paying $150 to avoid trouble, “when I came back home after school, she required me to go out with my luggage immediately because she claimed that she lost things which were worth more than 1240 dollars.”
A letter sent to the CBIE President by a group of concerned students states that “Concordia’s administration has merely sought to evade responsibility rather than explain the how this situation came to be” and laments that universities have been treating international students as financial resources while neglecting their ethical responsibilities to these students.
Nadia Hausfather, VP External of the Concordia Graduate Students’ Association, thinks it is unfair to provide unrealistic expectations to international students. “Unfortunately it is not unique to this case,” she says. “In 2009, Concordia raised the tuition of international students by up to 50% in some programs without even warning them before they came to Canada, and our students are still suffering the consequences.”
To ensure international students live better experiences at Concordia University, “we need to understand the mistakes we’ve made in the past to ensure we don’t repeat them in the future,” says Nadine Atallah, VP Clubs and Internal Affairs of the Concordia Students’ Association. Together, the Graduate Students’ Association and the Concordia Student Union are organizing legal information sessions and surveys directed at international students, more specifically at students in the Concordia China Student Recruitment Partner Program.
The press conference was accompanied by a rally to request the CBIE to investigate whether in the past five years Concordia has been adhering to the CBIE’s Code of Ethics to provide “realistic descriptions of costs, living accommodations” and be aware of “regulations concerning the dignity and integrity of individuals.” Students distributed misfortune’ cookies with explanatory messages to attendees of the CBIE conference as they exit the closing plenary.
To see the letter the GSA sent to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) click on the following link: Letter to CBIE